A national migrant health care organization has named Dr. Carolyn White of the College of Nursing on the University of South Alabama’s Baldwin County Campus, as recipient of its 2007 Unsung Hero Award.
White is an assistant professor of community health.
Nominees for the award were distinguished by their demonstrated dedication to the health of migrant workers who desperately need medical care but who often fail to receive it.
In 1997, White began taking health care to migrant families, operating out of the trunk of her family car. Her daughter, Claire Green, described those days in a nomination letter written to the Migrants Clinicians Network.
“I was in third grade when her mission for the citizens of her own county that were not receiving medical care began. During those days, volunteer health providers and church workers assembled to provide free health care services at a local Methodist Church. My mother is quick to point out that La Clinica de Baldwin, or The Baldwin Clinic is a work in progress and did not happen by her efforts alone, but if she had not been willing to be a catalyst for change, who can say what would have happened to this population? The clinic’s focus and mission are simple, but the work that the clinic does is profound,” wrote Green.
Today, White is chair of the board of La Clinica de Baldwin and only sees patients when she takes her student nurses for health fairs or clinical rotations. She serves on local and state health advisory boards, including the Governor’s Task Force and La Casa de Amigos, promoting the health interests of Hispanics and other minorities.
White received the award during the national meeting of the Migrant Clinicians Network, which ended today, in Newport Beach, Calif.
Slightly more than 16 percent of Alabama’s population is below the federal poverty level, and Hispanics represent 25 percent of that number, representing the poorest of the state’s poor.